Scarred: Inside Juvenile Corrections
Former inmates speak out about their experience inside Idaho Juvenile Corrections. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Gross mismanagement, sexual assault and general mistreatment of juveniles are alleged in a whistleblower lawsuit against Idaho Juvenile Corrections.
Until now, no one has talked to the juveniles to get their side of the story.
In an on your side exclusive, you hear from the most vulnerable in our community....
About the violence and abuse they say they endured at Juvenile Corrections.
The whistleblower lawsuit spells it all out. Allegations of sexual misconduct, physical abuse, favoritism and a system of juvenile corrections that's out of control.
D'kota Haley was 16 when she was first exposed to physical violence in juvenile corrections. She says she learned early not to put her hands in her pockets, a lesson delivered by a large member of the staff.
"He came up behind me, picked me up and slammed me on the ground," says Haley, "and I got restrained for not taking my hands out of my pockets."
D'kota is now, 20 lives out of state, but talked to us by phone.
She says that incident was followed by hours of verbal abuse.
"I stood for six hours in session," she says, "being screamed at by multiple staff. After that, I got in a depressed state and didn't talk to anyone. I started cutting myself and had plans to hang myself. I just couldn't deal with it anymore"
Another former inmate says physical restraints are common.
"I've seen restraints go on for hours. the juvenile is held down and it gets to the point where they have to inject them with Thorazine to make them go to sleep."
Robert is a former juvenile inmate who didn't want to be identified so we've concealed his face and changed his voice and name.
He says long term lockdowns for inmates are common.
"Lockdown happens when you act out a lot. it's just you're in your room and your meals are delivered to your room. Solitary? Yeah."
So are these stories really true? One might be forgiven for thinking these are just the ramblings of delinquents. But the problem is, they're not the only ones saying something in Juvie is seriously wrong.
Take for instance the criminal court case against former security supervisor Julie McCormick. She faces charges of lewd conduct for allegedly having sex multiple times with a juvenile at the Nampa corrections facility. McCormick was fired and her supervisor, Betty Grimm has since retired.
"We're now aware of five incidents of staff members having sex with juveniles in IDJC custody since the year 2000 and those are just the ones we know about."
Those incidents include the infamous allegation in the whistleblower lawsuit of a female staff member who had sex with an inmate who moved in with her after his release, and got a job at juvenile corrections at which time he proceeded to have an affair with a female inmate.
Robert says that story is legend at Juvie.
And he ran into a similar situation with a different female staff member.
"I got an invite to go to her house and bring my friends and have a party. and we did."
Staff is not supposed to have any social contact with former inmates outside of the facility.
At the observation and assessment facility, D'kota says the sex games went on between inmates.
"Male and female juveniles would flash each other while taking showers and nothing was done about it. Females would talk about going over to the male side because the only thing blocking was a curtain and they'd go do things to the boys or vice versa," says D'kota
"Reporter: Why should people care about this? Atty. Andrew Schoppe: Because quite literally, these kids are our future and they can be the future criminal class or the future productive members of society. We just have to decide which one we want."
Juvenile Corrections Director Sharon Harrigfeld would not comment on camera but sent this response.
"The Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections is committed to providing safe and secure facilities for juveniles and staff that deliver the best opportunity for rehabilitation and competency development for juveniles committed to our care."
In part two, the unbelievable lesson inmates say they learn that helps them gain early release.